Prior to the start of the season, I didn’t think Kevin Love would be willing to sign a contract extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
That would have been a huge loss to a Twin Cities fan base, much of which is still bitter about the Kevin Garnett trade of a few years ago. Love is one of the best post players in the NBA, and the Wolves could ill afford to let the restricted-free-agent-to-be get away.
Turn the calendar back to August, and it just didn’t seem like he was staying. But after signing a four-year contract extension with the team on Wednesday, Love has agreed to stick around as the Wolves try to climb out of the rebuilding process.
So what has changed in the last few months?
Well, the new collective bargaining agreement helps to a degree. Nobody knew what direction the CBA was headed in during the lockout. But there are still financial benefits to players who choose to re-sign with their teams.
What has also helped is the improvement on the court. The Wolves now have a proven head coach in Rick Adelman and a flashy point guard in Ricky Rubio. An 8-10 record may not sound impressive, but it’s a vast improvement from last year’s 17-65 showing. The team is not a playoff contender yet, but it does have a pulse again.
Fans have been patient with the organization for awhile, and that patience is starting to show signs of paying off. The Wolves are young, and thus, inconsistent. But they have some impressive wins under their belts, including two against the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks. The Wolves beat the Mavs again on Wednesday, just hours after Love signed his new contract.
It’s worth noting that Love’s four-year deal does have an opt-out clause after three years. But that really doesn’t matter. He is giving the Wolves a chance to become playoff contenders and maybe more over the next few years, and considering where the organization has been, that’s all it can ask for.